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Dec 13, 2013 7:00 PM

Vaclav Havel: Anticodes

The latest multimedia play the main role in a visual and dance production based on Vaclav Havel’s collection of experimental poetry of the same name. See the Laterna Magika of the 21st century at the Bohemian National Hall!

Laterna Magika’s classic and typical use of film footage is replaced in Anticodes by projection and sounds from live sources. The production introduces real-time tracking to Laterna Magika, which detects people or objects in pre-determined zones and turns the stage into a real-time visual and aural reflection of the movement of dancers on the stage. 

The production was created for the New Stage of the National Theatre and Laterna Magika by a team of young professionals led by director Braňo Mazúch, the author or more than twenty shows in the Czech Republic and abroad. He is joined by multimedia artists Dan Gregor, internationally renowned choreographer Věra Ondrašíková, sound designer Stanislav Abrahám and composer Michal Nejtek. From the ‘60s to the 21st century with the press of a single key. The typewriter is replaced by a laptop, ink by light and paper by darkness. The poetry remains.

The latest multimedia play the main role in a visual and dance production based on Václav Havel’s collection of experimental poetry of the same name. See the Laterna Magika of the 21st century!

Free admission.
First come, first served.

Organizers: Czech National Theater, Czech Center New York, Vaclav Havel Library Foundation, Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York

Since the first public performance in 1958 in Brussels, Laterna Magika has become renown throughout the world of theatre for its original staging principles and progressive practices in merging theatre technology, projection and live acting and dance events. Now, as part of the New Stage of the National Theatre, it once again voices its strong commitment to the tradition of an innovative artistic ensemble, returning to the active long-term development of new projects and establishing cooperation with new artists and art platforms in multimedia theatre.


"Last year, we addressed several creative teams with a request to prepare a short scenic study on a given theme, which was supposed to direct our search for new staging procedures, forms, technologies and creative approaches. The output of the assignment is Anticodes –a production which should also lay the foundations for Laterna Magika’s new direction.


“I love Havel’s calligrams for their simplicity, playfulness, thoughtfulness, internal movement and dynamics; ornamentation on the one hand and minimalism on the other. Most of the calligrams can be seen as living structures with their own story. Our job was to transfer these stories into stage situations," says Braňo Mazúch, the production director.


The pre-recorded classic film material, typical for Laterna Magika productions, is replaced in Anticodes with live projection and sound. Stage directors introduce real-time tracking – detecting people or objects in predetermined zones – in real time the stage naturally responds with images or sounds to the movements of the dancers on stage.“Visual poetry and the poetics of Laterna Magika are very close, and I think it was a logical choice for the New Scene dramaturgy to select this inspirational model,” says Braňo Mazúch.


For choreographer Věra Ondrašíková, the most powerful theme of the Anticodes production is time and the contemplation of time. As she says: "I can’t forget one quote from Leaving: “Every second something comes and something irretrievably goes. We do not know from where everything emerges and know even less to where it disappears."


Anticodes - book
A collection of visual poetry by Václav Havel, the greater part of which was written in the early 1960s.

"It was – as Josef Hiršal later put it – an ‘active articulation of absurdity,’ which employed the procedures of contemporary experimental poetry, enriching it with social-critical content. In the next quarter century, Václav Havel mostly used the creative methods of visual poetry only for occasional pieces intended largely as personal messages or greeting cards," says Anna Freimanová from the Václav Havel Library.

Stanislav Abraham - http://www.stanislav-abraham.com
born 1977, lives and works in Prague. Audiovisual performer, sound artist and musician. As sound designer and musician he usually works on collaborative projects: theatre and dance performances. His special discipline is improvising with electronic musical instruments, making soundscapes using real time sampling of objects from daily use, or creating improvised soundtracks for experimental cinema. As a solo artist he realised sound installations in galleries, sound composition for Czech Radio, field recordings for media archives or intervention in public space.  Also interested in the relationship of man and new media, trying to touch this theme in his latest video works.

Vera Ondrasikova
Graduated from Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Choreography and Theory of Choreography). As a dancer she participated in the projects of czech and foreign choreographers (Claude Brumachon & CCN Nantes), Nir de Volff, Norman Douglas, Isira Makuloluwe, Maya Lipsker/Verte Dance and others. In 2005 she was awarded the prize “The most outstanding dancer” in the festival Masdanza (Spain)  and nominated for „Am Beste Deutsche Solo“ competition in Leipzig.
Her performances were put on the stage within the festivals Tanec Praha, Biennale de la danse in Lyon, Euro-Scene Leipzig, Aerowaves in London, Aerodance in Amsterdam, En Pe De Pedra in Santiago de Compostela, Masdanza in the Canarian Islands (awarded the first prize for a collective work).
As a resident artist she worked with The Professional Dance School in Mazatlan (Mexico) and with Theater Vorpommern (Germany). She appeared as a guest in  Komedie Theatre (Klára S. – directed by David Jařab). She attended a residency stay in Spain, Germany (Tanzplan Dresden, Steptext Bremen) and France.
Since 2009, she has been closely working with Michal Rydlo, a programmer, Patrik Sedlák, a lightdesigner, and musicians Michal Cáb and Stanislav Abraham.
Their collective project 15STEPS deals with the topics of decision-making, direction and navigation (GPS). Their latest project UNSEEN explores the topic that could be described as 'voice inside us'. Both the light and the sound are equal partners of the dancer. The performance reveals new relation between movement, music and light.


Vaclav Havel
Czech playwright, writer and politician. He is renowned for his plays ranking in the genre of the so-called Theatre of the Absurd (The Garden Party, The Memo, Temptation, Largo desolato, etc.). In the 1960s he worked at the Theatre on Balustrade. At the time of the Prague Spring, Havel was actively involved in the political discussion, promoting democracy. Following the suppression of the Prague Spring by the armies of the Warsaw Pact, he was banned from publishing and became one of the most outstanding critics of the normalisation regime. He was a co-founder and one of the first spokesmen of Charta 77. Having written his most important essays (A Letter to Gustáv Husák, The Power of the Powerless, A Word About Words) in the 1970s and the 1980s, he gained international reputation as a critic of the communist regime. In 1979, he was sentenced to four years in prison without probation. It is at this time that the core of the book Letters to Olga was born as Havel kept sending letters to his wife from prison. After November 17, 1989, Havel founded the Civic Forum, became one of its leaders and its presidential candidate. He was elected president of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989. He directed the country towards parliamentary democracy, trying to integrate it within political structures of the Western world, yet he hasn’t managed to hinder its dissolution in 1992. When the Czech Republic was created, he became its first president (1993) and remained in the function for two successive terms of office, until 2003.
After leaving the presidential function he remained active as a writer and a defendant of human rights in totalitarian countries around the world. He wrote Briefly, Please and one last theatre play, Leaving, adapting it to a film, which he himself directed in 2010.

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Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Dec 13, 2013 7:00 PM


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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